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Income Tax dept hits transparency button
May, 30th 2011

To bring in more transparency in Income Tax (I-T) search and survey operations, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has asked all officials attached to its investigation and assessment wings to compulsorily provide phone numbers of their seniors to taxpayers during an operation.

The move is intended to bring in transparency in such cases and is expected to bring down allegations of harassments of taxpayers.

An order to this effect was issued from the office of the CBDT chairman recently. It said the I-T raiding parties must carry a sheet of paper having the names, landline and cellphone numbers of their chief commissioner and other senior officials and should be handed over to the taxpayer before the search and survey operations begin.

Most grievances, however, have been coming from survey operations where I-T officials are not authorized to seize properties or any assets. For survey operations, I-T officials can enter a business premise and can inspect account books and financial statements, verify cash, stock or other valuable articles and record the statement of any individual but cannot make any seizures.

Under such an operation, I-T department officials do not visit the residential premises of the assessee.

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